Easy Turkey Gravy

PinSaveJUMP to RECIPE

This post may contain affiliate links.

Homemade Turkey Gravy (from Drippings!) — An EASY, foolproof recipe with lots of TIPS for PERFECT turkey gravy that’s ready in 5 minutes!! The whole family will LOVE this gravy over their Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, or as a comfort food addition to your dinner table during other times of the year!!

A platter of sliced turkey being drizzle with homemade gravy.

The BEST EVER Gravy Using Turkey Drippings

It’s really not Thanksgiving without gravy. Sure, turkey is always going to be the star of the show but without gravy adorning it, it’s definitely not the same.

Nor are mashed potatoes. We don’t say mashed potatoes and butter. We say mashed potatoes and gravy because we all know they’re infinitely better with a puddle of gravy in the middle.

I’m sharing my recipe for the best homemade turkey gravy. It turns out perfectly every time, there’s no more guesswork wondering if it will turn out or will it be lumpy or this or that. No! It’s going to be perfect gravy.

Best yet, there are only 5 minutes of active cooking time before you have yourself some turkey gravy from drippings that they whole family is going to adore!

In Charge of Thanksgiving This Year?

Make sure to also check out my very comprehensive post about how to make a Foolproof Roasted Turkey as well as how to make The Best Mashed Potatoes!

A gravy boat filled with homemade turkey gravy being held aloft over a platter of sliced turkey.

Ingredients for Making Turkey Gravy From Drippings

Making homemade gravy with drippings doesn’t need to involve all kinds of things that people think are necessary. For instance, I don’t use bullion cubes or cornstarch in my recipe.

All you’ll need are these simple ingredients:

  • Turkey drippings (theoretically you can cheat and use turkey stock although I highly recommend turkey drippings over stock)
  • Fat (from a roasted turkey or if you’re not roasting a turkey first, use butter)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt 

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

A gravy boat full of turkey gravy in front of a platter of sliced turkey.

Is Flour or Cornstarch Better for Thickening Gravy?

I get better results from all-purpose flour compared to cornstarch because flour is less temperamental overall than cornstarch.

Cornstarch can over thicken very rapidly, but if you cook it too long, it can actually start to thin out. Additionally, reheated gravy made with flour I find has a much better consistency and texture.

What’s the Best Fat to Use in Turkey Gravy?

The fat we are using for the gravy can come in multiple forms. I prefer to use the fat that came off of the turkey. You can easily obtain the fat by using a fat separator after you have gotten your drippings.

Overhead view of saucepan of homemade gravy. A whisk rests on the side.

What Are Turkey Drippings?

When referring to the drippings, this is the liquid, the juicy stuff that’s at the bottom of your roasting pan after you’ve baked the turkey.

This is why you never want to discard a drop of those delicious drippings. They make the best gravy!

How to Collect Turkey Drippings for Gravy

The first step to this Thanksgiving gravy recipe is to collect the most important ingredient — the drippings!

To do this, carefully remove your piping hot turkey from the roasting pan and onto a cutting board or serving platter.

Then, ladle the drippings on the bottom of the roasting dish to a saucepan or bowl. From there, you’ll need to separate the fat from the drippings before making the easy homemade gravy.

Homemade gravy being poured over a serving bowl of mashed potatoes.

How to Separate the Fat From Turkey Drippings

When making homemade gravy from drippings, you MUST separate the fat from the drippings or else your gravy will be greasy rather than rich and creamy.

You have three options for separating the fat from the turkey drippings:

A fat separator is a very handy and inexpensive gadget that helps you separate the fat from the drippings, while also staining out any unwanted bits, and in the final analysis will prevent an unsightly layer of fat from sitting on top of your finished bowl of homemade turkey gravy.

Option 2: Let Rest in a Bowl for 30 Minutes

Additionally, you can put all the drippings into a very large bowl and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes so all the fat rises to the top. Then, using a ladle, carefully spoon all the fat off the top into another bowl.

Option 3: Chill to Separate the Fat

Finally, if you have quite a bit more time on your hands (doubtful if you’re making this for a holiday meal), but you can put the bowl with all the drippings in the fridge or freezer. The fat rises to the top and solidifies, making it super easy to take off the top.

Close up view of turkey gravy.

How to Make Gravy with Turkey Drippings

Now that I’ve clarified in depth and detail drippings, fat, and how to separate the two, making gravy really is an easy process and the gravy is ready in 5 minutes!

  1. Place the fat into a large skillet with deep sides over medium-low heat.
  2. Once hot, add in the flour and whisk to combine. Cook the flour in the fat for about 2 minutes and whisk intermittently. You’re essentially making a roux here and the goal is to get rid of that raw, uncooked flour taste, and brown up the flour in the fat a tiny bit.
  3. Slowly pour in the drippings, whisking constantly. Make sure you whisk constantly to avoid lumpy gravy.
  4. Let the gravy come to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking frequently.
  5. Add in the parsley, thyme, and black pepper, taste, and add salt if necessary to taste. You may not need to add any salt because they turkey drippings and fat arrive salted from the turkey.

How to Thicken Gravy

If you want your gravy extra thick, reduce the amount of drippings from 5 cups to 4 cups. For me this would be a bit too thick but some people really like their gravy extra sludgy. 

Sliced turkey on a platter drizzled with turkey gravy.

Can Turkey Gravy Be Made In Advance?

If you’re using turkey drippings and turkey fat, which is what my recipe is based upon, and what I highly recommend doing for the best turkey gravy, then no not really since you need to wait for that turkey to roast and then make use of the drippings and fat.

If you’re going to ‘cheat’ and not roast a turkey and go the route of using turkey stock and butter, then yes theoretically you can make this gravy in advance. It will keep for a few days if kept airtight in the fridge.

If you’re using the gravy for a holiday meal and you’re serving it to company, make it the night before. If you’re just a gravy fiend and you’re the only one who’s going to be slurping down the gravy, then it should keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. 

Recipe FAQs

How much drippings do you need to make gravy?

You’ll need roughly 5 cups of turkey drippings (separated from the fat!) to make about 5 cups of turkey gravy.

Can you make gravy without drippings?

Although I do highly recommend roasting a whole turkey so that you can then enjoy this incredible homemade turkey gravy slathered all over your turkey, if for some reason you just really are a gravy lover, you could cheat and use turkey stock.

However, using stock doesn’t have the same richness and depth of flavor compared to using the drippings from a roasted turkey. If you’re going the turkey stock route, use a high-quality turkey stock that you really like the flavor of since that flavor will be very dominate in your gravy.

As it pertains to the type of fat to use, I’d go with unsalted butter if you don’t have the fat from a roasted turkey.

Should you use Flour or cornstarch to thicken gravy?

I prefer using flour as it results in a smoother gravy that also reheats much better. Cornstarch is easy to overcook and can result in a sludgy gravy. I only use cornstarch if one of my guests is gluten-free (and if using cornstarch, note that you need HALF the amount of flour called for since cornstarch is twice as strong as flour).

How to Reheat Gravy 

Homemade turkey gravy should be gently reheated in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir it frequently to prevent the gravy from burning or clumping up. Chilled leftover gravy will be very thick; let the gravy warm up before adding broth to thin it out. Once warmed, the gravy may be thin enough! 

Can You Freeze Gravy? 

Yes, this homemade turkey gravy can be frozen since it’s thickened with flour and doesn’t contain dairy. To freeze, let it cool completely before sealing in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in your fridge overnight or reheat from frozen. 

What’s the Secret to Making the Best Thanksgiving Gravy? My Top Tips!

As written, my gravy recipe produces a nicely thickened gravy perfect for your Thanksgiving meal or Christmas turkey dinner.

The main take home points in making gravy from turkey drippings are to:

  1. Make sure the drippings and the fat are well separated before beginning the process.
  2. When you’re cooking the flour and fat solo (making the roux), make sure the flour isn’t lumpy and that you’ve whisked it smooth and whisk frequently.
  3. When you’re pouring in the drippings, whisk constantly, and while it simmers for just a few more minutes to thicken, whisk frequently.
  4. Don’t leave your stovetop. This gravy is ready from start to finish in about 5 minutes and needs your full attention and whisking skills!

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 5 cups

Turkey Gravy From Drippings

Easy Perfect Gravy - An EASY, foolproof recipe with lots of TIPS for PERFECT gravy that's ready in 5 minutes!! The whole family will LOVE this gravy over their Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, or as a comfort food addition to your dinner table during other times of the year!!

An EASY, foolproof recipe that's ready in 5 minutes!! The whole family will LOVE this gravy over their Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, or as a comfort food addition to your dinner table during other times of the year!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of turkey drippings, separated from the fat* (See Note 1)
  • 6 tablespoons fat* (See Note 2)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • kosher salt, if desired and to taste

Instructions

    1. Place the fat into a large skillet with deep sides over medium-low heat.
    2. Once hot, add in the flour and whisk to combine. Cook the flour in the fat for about 2 minutes and whisk intermittently. You’re essentially making a roux here and the goal is to get rid of that raw, uncooked flour taste, and brown up the flour in the fat a tiny bit.
    3. Slowly pour in the drippings, whisking constantly. Make sure you whisk constantly to avoid lumpy gravy.* (See Note 3)
    4. Let the gravy come to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking frequently.
    5. Add in the parsley, thyme, and black pepper, taste, and add salt if necessary and to taste. You may not need to add any salt because they turkey drippings and fat arrive salted from the turkey.

Notes

Note 1 - For the drippings, we are looking for just the liquid, not the fat that comes off the bird. Use a fat separator to help you do this.

fat separator is a very handy and inexpensive gadget that helps you separate the fat from the drippings, while also staining out any unwanted bits, and in the final analysis will prevent an unsightly layer of fat from sitting on top of your finished bowl of gravy.

Additionally, you can put all the drippings into a very large bowl and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes so all the fat rises to the top. Then, using a ladle, carefully spoon all the fat off the top into another bowl.

Finally, if you have quite a bit more time on your hands (doubtful if you’re making this for a holiday meal), but you can put the bowl with all the drippings in the fridge or freezer. The fat rises to the top and solidifies, making it super easy to take off the top.

Note 2 - The fat we are using for the gravy can come in multiple forms. I prefer to use the fat that came off of the turkey. You can get this from the fat separator after you have separated the fat from the drippings.

You can also use butter.

Note 3 - If you're interested in making gravy without drippings from a roasted turkey nor do you have the fat either, you can substitute with turkey stock and butter for the drippings/fat. The gravy doesn't have the same rich flavor when made this way, but it's an option for those not having roast turkey drippings and turkey fat on hand, but still want to make gravy.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5 cups

Serving Size:

1/3 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 40g

More Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

The Best Mashed Potatoes — Buttery, creamy, PERFECT mashed potatoes that rival your favorite restaurant’s version but EASY and ready in 45 minutes!! The quintessential holiday side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a great family-friendly weeknight comfort food side dish!!

The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes - Buttery, creamy, PERFECT mashed potatoes that rival your favorite restaurant's version but EASY and ready in 45 minutes!! The quintessential holiday side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a great family-friendly weeknight comfort food side dish!!

Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing – Nothing frilly or trendy. Classic, amazing, easy, homemade stuffing that everyone loves!! Simple ingredients with stellar results! It’ll be your new go-to recipe!!

Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing - Nothing frilly or trendy. Classic, amazing, easy, homemade stuffing that everyone loves!! Simple ingredients with stellar results! It'll be your new go-to recipe!!

Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffing – Easy stuffing that’s full of flavor from the sausage, onions, and more! You don’t even need to brown the sausage first and everything cooks together! A time and oven-space saver on holidays!

Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffing - EASY stuffing that's full of flavor from the sausage, onions, and more!! You don't even need to brown the sausage first and everything cooks together! A time and oven-space saver on holidays!!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Crumble Topping – The holiday classic just got even better because of the amazing topping! A buttery, brown sugary, crunch that’s irresistible! Easy and you can pre-assemble to save time!

Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Crumble Topping - The holiday classic just got even BETTER because of the amazing TOPPING!! A buttery, brown sugary, crunch that's irresistible! Easy and you can pre-assemble to save time!!

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce – Make your own cranberry sauce with amazing depth of flavor in 30 minutes! The best cranberry sauce you will EVER have, guaranteed!

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce (vegan, GF) - Make your own cranberry sauce with amazing depth of flavor in 30 minutes! Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Green Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar — These green beans are made extra delish with brown sugar, onions, garlic, and plenty of bacon! Eating your veggies has never been this EASY or tasty, and even the pickiest eaters will gobble them up!

Roasted Rainbow Carrots — Lightly caramelized around the edges, crisp-tender in the center, and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and parsley!! A trusty side that you’ll make again and again for holidays or easy weeknight dinners!!

roasted rainbow carrots on white plate

No-Knead Dinner Rolls  – An amazingly easy dinner roll recipe that you don’t even have to knead!

No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter - Recipe at averiecooks.com

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

Get the latest recipes via email!

Leave a Comment

Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.